The Pantry Principle

In essence, The Pantry Principle means storing food today for use tomorrow. Stocking up when the price is right on the food and non-food items you and your family use on a regular basis. Not only is this the most economical way to shop and live, but shopping this way will provide security for you as well. When emergencies arise your family will not be found wanting with The Pantry Principle.

Amy Dacyczyn describes The Pantry Principle on pages 172-173 in her book titled, The Tightwad Gazette II. Amy states that the idea of planning meals thirty days in advance in not the most frugal way to go about planning menus for your family. She states that planning meals in advance is backward and that stick-to-your-list thinking does not allow an individual to take advantage of unadvertised deals.

The best approach that Amy suggests is what she calls The Pantry Principle which she first learned about when she read a book written by Barbara Salsbury and Cheri Loveless called Cut Your Food Bill in Half. Amy claims that many families do not take the concept far enough to save the maximum amount of their money.

Here is what she has to say on the topic: “Typical is the admonition to plan meal menus 30 days in advance and shop accordingly, never daring to veer from this carved-in-stone schedule. At the very least, we’ve been told, you should plan meals seven days in advance, working with what’s on sale that week. The basic premise (of “The Pantry Principal”) is that you stockpile your pantry (and/or kitchen, freezer, basement, closet and/or the space under your bed) with food purchased at the lowest possible price. The sole purpose of grocery shopping becomes replenishing your pantry, not buying ingredients to prepare specific meals.”

The basic idea behind The Pantry Principle is to stockpile your pantry with food that you are able to purchase at the lowest possible price. The purpose of grocery shopping then becomes a trip to replenish your pantry, and not a trip to purchase specific ingredients for specific meals.

On Wednesday of every week the grocery stores in the area I live in place their advertisements in the local paper, and I always pick up one to scan the sales for the coming week. I keep track of prices on items that I normally purchase via a price book, so I know a good sale when I see one. If I see something on sale that catches my eye that week I plan a trip to town to take advantage of that sale. The number of items that I purchase actually depends on what that particular item is.

By purchasing food that my family eats at rock bottom prices, and in a large quantity I am able to save money because when tuna is 59¢ that week I know that I can go into my pantry and pick out a can of tuna that only cost me 25¢.

Listed below are some of the examples of how I've used The Pantry Principle to save my family some money.

Sometimes I shop at the local close out store where I can really take advantage of unadvertised deals. This first deal came from the close out store. One of my friends and I were shopping one day and came across some quart jars of Miracle Whip LIte Salad Dressing or Mayonnaise as some people call it. The price on the Miracle Whip was only $1.39, and I knew that this was an exceptional price.

I knew from checking out my price book that Walmart, which is the place where I normally buy my groceries, sells the same jar of Miracle Whip for $2.87. I decided to take advantage of the deal and stock up. For example, I know that my family usually goes through 12 jars of mayo in about a years time. I decided to purchase 12 jars of the Miracle Whip because that way, I would have a years supply of mayo at the optimum price where I live. I apply this concept with almost everything and seldom buy anything at more than the optimum price.

This particular deal would have cost me $34.44 at Walmart, but by purchasing the Miracle Whip at the close out store I ended up paying $16.68 for this deal, and I saved myself $17.76.Now for the next year when I need Miracle Whip I can just pick up a jar out of my pantry and save myself some money.

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